Every Tuesday evening, Karen Dickerson meets at her former high school to run with a group called DC Capital Striders. Every Saturday morning, she meets at the Iwo Jima Memorial to run with a group called DC Road Runners, where she runs approximately 14 miles.
In between, Dickerson can usually be found running on any number of Fairfax County paths and trails, with the sound of country music, most likely, playing from her headphones.
In fact, at 25, Springfield resident, Karen Dickerson, has been running for almost half of her life.
“She started running when she was thirteen,” said her mother Ernie Dickerson, who, along with Karen’s dad, Joe, has been her biggest supporter, over the years.
“She tried other sports, but running was her thing,” said Ernie Dickerson.
It was Karen Dickerson’s middle school physical education teacher, Nancy Julia, who encouraged her to try different sports, which led to her passion of long distance running.
When Karen runs, she says that her mind is on nothing more than “running and finishing the race.”
“She gets out there, and she is just focused,” said Ernie Dickerson.
And, it seems, that this focus has served her well.
Karen Dickerson has finished a lot of races, which began years ago, with the 5k Parkway Classic.
Since then, she has run in a number of races, including the Marine Corp Marathon, which qualified her for the Boston Marathon, where she finished in an impressive 3 hours and 24 minutes.
Karen Dickerson’s most difficult race was The Mississippi Blues, which she ran in January. “Twenty-six miles, all up hill,” she said.
This June, Karen Dickerson will be one of the prestigious athletes representing Team USA at the Special Olympics World Summer Games, in Athens, Greece. She will be running the half marathon, which is about 13.1 miles.
Karen Dickerson will have a lot of people supporting her, from Julia, who still coaches Karen, to her weekly running partners, to her former teachers at Edison High School, to all of the amazing people who support her through The Special Olympics, and, of course, her family.
When Karen Dickerson is not running or working her job at Wegmans Cafe, she likes to find time to meet up with her friends at the local Caribou Coffee.
“I like smoothies,” she said, with a smile.
When asked why she loves to run, Karen Dickerson said, “For the exercise.”